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Protesters cast a statue of slave merchant Edward Coulston in Bristol Harbor, during a protest march of black lives in Bristol, England, on June 7. Ben Birchall / PA / AP

In Bristol, UK, on ​​Sunday, demonstrators pulled out a statue of a 17th-century slave merchant while demonstrating in solidarity with the Black Life Movement.

Protesters tied a 5.5-foot (18-foot) bronze statue of Edward Coulston, with a rope before dropping it, to cheer from the surrounding crowd.

The demonstrators were later seen running the statue to the nearby port and throwing it into the Avon River.

Colston, born in Bristol in 1636, has been an active member of the governing body of the Royal African Company (RAC) for 11 years, taking the position of Deputy Governor from 1689-1690.

The company, which had a monopoly in the slave trade in West Africa in the late seventeenth century, was involved in selling tens of thousands of West African residents in the Caribbean and the Americas.

Colston who was described Bristol museums site As a “respected philanthropist / guilty slave trader”, he later donated some of his fortune to charitable causes, such as schools and hospitals, a process by which his name became synonymous with some of Bristol’s landmarks.

The Colston statue has been standing in downtown Bristol since 1895 but has become increasingly controversial, with petitions being created to demand its removal.

Elsewhere in the UK: Mass protests took place, with the number of people in thousands, in other major UK cities such as London and Edinburgh.

Police announced late Sunday evening that at least 12 people were arrested in the London protests.

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